FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain' is a colorful selection of the native alum root. Leaves are lobed and almost round and are highlighted with silvery blue and red marbling. In late spring, tiny white flowers are held above the foliage in loose panicles. Foliage transitions to a bright orange hue in fall and winter. Plants thrive in moist rich woods in shade to part sun. This heat tolerant cultivar will also handle difficult dry shaded sites.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: In the wild, this species is native from Ontario south to Georgia and west from Nebraska to Louisiana.
Heuchera americana is indigenous to rocky open woods, crevices or ledges of basic rock outcrops and shaded calcareous woods.
This cultivar was selected by Dale Hendricks of North Creek Nurseries. This is a seed propagated variety that was discovered in the mountains of North Carolina.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-7.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain' produces fibrous roots and a perfectly mounded evergreen rosette of attractive variegated foliage. The leaves emerge in a dense spiral from a short central crown or caudex.
Leaf blades have a rounded form and 5-9 shallow toothed lobes. Young leaves are chartreuse. They soon develop a soothing olive green patina with silvery-blue marbling and a network of rosy red veins.
In late spring or early summer, airy flower panicles are displayed on leafless stalks above the foliage. The bell shaped florets are white and about 1/8” long. They are reported to attract hummingbirds and diminutive native bees.
After flowering small capsules full of tiny lustrous seed form. As the season ends, foliage turns golden orange for the fall and winter.
The mounding foliage is usually 18” tall with an equal spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Ideally Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain' should be planted in part shade or filtered sun in moist well drained humus rich soil.
Plants endure difficult dry shaded sites, heat and humidity. In northern regions this cultivar will tolerate full sun.
The caudex can heave from the ground during cold winters. In northern zones the addition of winter mulch helps prevent this problem.
This vigorous cultivar should be divided every 3-4 years to rejuvenate the plant and remove declining growth. Old leaves should be trimmed in late winter to make room for a lovely new crop of foliage.
This selection is pest resistant and unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain' is a lovely foliage plant that is best used as a Groundcover, Edging, Grouping or Mass Planting. This cultivar tolerates heat and drought and will thrive in dry Shade Gardens under hardwood trees. Use this wildflower as an Accent, to inject Winter Interest or as a Container Plant for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Rock Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and Wildlife Gardens.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try planting Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain' with Aruncus dioicus, Carex plantaginea, Iris cristata, Phlox divaricata or Polystichum acrostichoides.
The parent species, Heuchera americana would be a suitable substitute if needed.
TRIVIA: Plants tolerate juglone and can grow well in the dripline of the black walnut (Juglans nigra).